Spatial variations in focused exhumation along a continental-scale strike-slip fault: The Denali fault of the eastern Alaska Range

Jeff A. Benowitz, Paul W. Layer, Phil Armstrong, Stephanie E. Perry, Peter J. Haeussler, Paul G Fitzgerald, Sam VanLaningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

40Ar/39Ar, apatite fission-track, and apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronological techniques were used to determine the Neogene exhumation history of the topographically asymmetric eastern Alaska Range. Exhumation cooling ages range from ~33 Ma to ~18 Ma for 40Ar/39Ar biotite, ~18 Ma to ~6 Ma for K-feldspar minimum closure ages, and ~15 Ma to ~1 Ma for apatite fission-track ages, and apatite (U-Th)/He cooling ages range from ~4 Ma to ~1 Ma. There has been at least ~11 km of exhumation adjacent to the north side of Denali fault during the Neogene inferred from biotite 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology. Variations in exhumation history along and across the strike of the fault are influenced by both far-field effects and local structural irregularities. We infer deformation and rapid exhumation have been occurring in the eastern Alaska Range since at least ~22 Ma most likely related to the continued collision of the Yakutat microplate with the North American plate. The Nenana Mountain region is the late Pleistocene to Holocene (~past 1 Ma) primary locus of tectonically driven exhumation in the eastern Alaska Range, possibly related to variations in fault geometry. During the Pliocene, a marked increase in climatic instability and related global cooling is temporally correlated with an increase in exhumation rates in the eastern Alaska Range north of the Denali fault system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-467
Number of pages13
JournalGeosphere
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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strike-slip fault
exhumation
spatial variation
apatite
cooling
Neogene
biotite
thermochronology
North American plate
fault geometry
microplate
mountain region
history
feldspar
Pliocene
collision
Holocene
Pleistocene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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Spatial variations in focused exhumation along a continental-scale strike-slip fault : The Denali fault of the eastern Alaska Range. / Benowitz, Jeff A.; Layer, Paul W.; Armstrong, Phil; Perry, Stephanie E.; Haeussler, Peter J.; Fitzgerald, Paul G; VanLaningham, Sam.

In: Geosphere, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011, p. 455-467.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Benowitz, Jeff A. ; Layer, Paul W. ; Armstrong, Phil ; Perry, Stephanie E. ; Haeussler, Peter J. ; Fitzgerald, Paul G ; VanLaningham, Sam. / Spatial variations in focused exhumation along a continental-scale strike-slip fault : The Denali fault of the eastern Alaska Range. In: Geosphere. 2011 ; Vol. 7, No. 2. pp. 455-467.
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